18 July 2013

reading kenneth goldsmith

I've been reading 'Uncreative Writing' for the past day or so. the most fascinating element I've come across is this notion of language permeating. Goldsmith talks about how everything we encounter digitally is language on a sub level... that code which makes your graphics run is language. there has been a terror in literature of the internet & what it means for language & the written word. Goldsmith posits that we must merely reevaluate our understanding of literature to fit in this new (digital) world.

This I have been thinking about a lot. I have been operating in my "creative life" (as pretentious as that sounds) under the etymological definition of the word 'poetry'... i.e. 'something fashioned or made'. that definition has no mention of language, or words, or line breaks, or form, or whatever else we have arbitrarily decided makes something a poem. & though I'm not particularly far along in Goldsmith's book I think it might be at the root of the idea I've been trying to hash out.

Take this for example:

I made this image using a process Goldsmith describes. I first opened a .jpg file in text edit. of course the file opened as a indecipherable series of symbols (language). I inserted randomly the text of a poem I had written. when I oped the file again in a picture viewer it had been completely changed. Goldsmith writes: "What we're experiencing for the first time is the ability of language to alter all media [...] Words are active & affective in concrete ways." 

I think that's beautiful.